Some Suggestions for the 2015 Rockies

The Rockies have been in a free fall for more than two months. And with apologies to Tom Petty, it hasn’t felt good for their team or fan base. They’ve suffered on-field slights, and off-field slights. They’ve suffered injuries, and embarrassment at the hands of those who have replaced those injured. Simply put, it’s been ugly.

Things have seemingly come to a head with Troy Tulowitzki‘s comments earlier this week. Tulowitzki’s voice is going to carry a lot of weight, and if he doesn’t back down from his words, then this offseason ownership may need to decide who is more valuable — Tulowitzki or their baseball operations braintrust. Assuming Mrrs. Monfort come to their senses and choose Tulowitzki, the new baseball operations team will need to pick a new direction. Consider this my suggestion.

See, the thing is that the Rockies have plenty of talent. And there are elements of their strategy that have been sound, even if they took the long way to go about things. Jordan Lyles, for instance, has been an asset given his extreme groundball tendencies. With Nolan Arenado, DJ Lemahieu and Tulowitzki, the Rockies have about as good an infield defense as there is. Getting Lyles fits that strategy, even if he wasn’t good value for Dexter Fowler.

Still, given the talent that the team has, there are plenty of steps between where they are now and being a contending team. Let’s go in.

Let Michael Cuddyer, Brett Anderson and Jorge De La Rosa walk. Cuddyer will be 36 next season. In his three seasons with the Rockies, he’s played well when on the field, but that hasn’t been frequently enough. To date, there have been 438 games he could have played in a Rockies uniform, and he has only suited up for 262 of them, or 60%. That’s not good enough. The same is true of Anderson. He’s tossed just 123 innings since the start of the 2012 season. As tantalizing is it to think that next season could be the season, it’s certainly not worth $12 million to find out. Perhaps the team could get him back on the cheap if they decline his club option, but under no circumstances should they be picking up his extension. Dave covered De La Rosa.

Non-tender Jhoulys Chacin. Following the 2010 season, Chacin held so much promise. He had a good strikeout rate, didn’t allow that many homers, and he had a 2.98 ERA as a starter — good for 11th in the National League (minimum 100 innings pitched). If he could just get his walk rate under control … but he never did. Well, he did last year, but he’s been back to his old self this season. Since the start of that 2010 season, just 17 of 176 qualified pitchers have a higher walk rate than does Chacin, and eyeballing that list, seven of those 17 have already started their last major league game. Just like in 2012, he’s been hurt again this season. His velocity is down, and batters are swinging less frequently against his stuff this year than ever before. And he doesn’t generate enough ground balls. He’s due another raise in arbitration, and at this point, he’s a lottery ticket. Lottery tickets should be cheap.

Sign Russell Martin. If it’s not supremely clear yet, Wilin Rosario is not a very good catcher. You don’t need advanced stats to know that. Since the start of 2012, he has eight more passed balls than any other catcher in the game. He was above average at throwing runners out in his rookie season, but he’s gone south since, and his 20% caught stealing rate this season is six percent below league average. And framing? Forget it. StatCorner has him as eighth-worst cumulatively this season, and he is still firmly ensconced in the bottom half when you look at per game rates.

Signing Martin, who has a much better defensive reputation and statistical profile, would fix this issue for the Rockies. Martin could take the lion’s share of the catching duties, with Rosario filling in as the backup. This would free up Rosario to work in a platoon with Justin Morneau. Morneau has predictably hit left-handed pitching horribly this season, and Rosario has never been much for hitting the righties. It wouldn’t be a strict platoon, but it would be a much better way to properly leverage each player’s strengths.

Trade for Jon Niese. The Mets have far too many starting pitchers. Niese isn’t expensive, but he’ll be the team’s second-most expensive pitcher, and their fourth-most expensive player as things stand now. Given that he is under contract, the Rockies will have to give up something good for him — which is fine, the Rockies have a strong farm system — but Niese would be worth the price. Niese gets ground balls galore, and also manages to keep his home run rate down.

Sign Justin Masterson, Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy and/or Francisco Liriano. The Rockies almost certainly aren’t going to target Jon Lester or Max Scherzer in free agency, and they probably wouldn’t want to come to Colorado anyway. But as luck would have it, four of the groundballingest pitchers in the game are set to hit free agency this winter. Masterson, obviously, would be the coup. Perhaps he’ll even come cheap, given his superficially poor season. As Jeff Sullivan noted at the trade deadline, the Indians defense didn’t do Masterson any favors, and the Rockies’ infield defense would help him just as the Cardianls defense should down the stretch. If they can’t land Masterson though, there are other good options, and none of them should cost a mint.

Play Corey Dickerson every day. Charlie Blackmon had the amazing April, but Dickerson has had the amazing season. His 146 wRC+ is 14th-best in the game as I write this. Dickerson has hit at every level, and while his batting average on balls in play is high, it doesn’t mean he’s in line for a huge drop. When Jeff Zimmerman looked at xBABIP values at the end of July, Dickerson had the highest xBABIP in the game. Yet, the Rockies still aren’t committing to him full-time. In fact, in August he’s been benched more frequently than usual. This needs to stop. Assuming good health, Gonzalez and Dickerson should play every day, with Drew Stubbs and Blackmon platooning, and Brandon Barnes manning the fifth outfielder role.

So, what do we have? Let’s take a look.
– C: Russell Martin
– 1B: Justin Morneau
– 2B: DJ Lemahieu
– 3B: Nolan Arenado
– SS: Troy Tulowitzki
– LF: Carlos Gonzalez
– CF: Charlie Blackmon/Drew Stubbs
– RF: Corey Dickerson
– C/1B/DH: Wilin Rosario
– INF: Josh Rutledge
– OF: Brandon Barnes
– SP: Jordan Lyles, Jon Gray, Eddie Butler, Jon Niese, Justin Masterson

That leaves you with one position player slot to fill, and the bullpen, which needs a near total teardown as well — only Adam Ottavino and LaTroy Hawkins are really worth keeping, though they’ll also be stuck with Boone Logan. Perhaps Juan Nicasio‘s stuff will play up in the bullpen — we’ll find out during the final two months. They’d also need more starting pitching depth, but between Tyler Matzek — who has shown flashes of his potential this season — and Tyler Chatwood, who should be back by the second half, they won’t be barren. And maybe Anderson comes back on the cheap. All in all though, this is a much better team, and one that is easily doable payroll-wise.

Letting Cuddyer, De La Rosa, Anderson, Chacin, Matt Belisle, Wilton Lopez and Franklin Morales depart will save the team more than $43 million. Some of that will go to arbitration raises, but there should absolutely be enough money there to afford Martin, Niese and Masterson (or Liriano, McCarthy or Kuroda). Aside from Tulowitki and Gonzalez (and perhaps Arenado and Dickerson) that may not seem like the most imposing roster, but as Dave noted in his chat this week, a balanced team full of non-stars can dominate. This blueprint would give the Rockies that balanced team, and they’d still have those two stars in tow.

The Rockies have been abysmal, and there are several things that they need to do to turn things around. But they do have plenty of talent, and if they make the right moves, they can be right back in the thick of things next season.



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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.


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zmiko
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zmiko
2 years 1 month ago

I’d be pretty happy with that offseason.

SJ
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SJ
2 years 1 month ago

The Mets won’t be parting with Niese unless Tulo and/or CarGo are coming back. Given the Rockies’ needs, a trade built around Niese, Syndegaard, Plawecki/D’arnaud, and another top 10 NYM prospect (e.g. Nimmo, Montero) makes sense for both teams. The only question is if the Wilpons are ready to begin taking on payroll.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 1 month ago

“The Mets won’t be parting with Niese unless Tulo and/or CarGo are coming back.”

*Chortle*

Jon Niese
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Jon Niese
2 years 1 month ago

Lol

steviek
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steviek
2 years 1 month ago

No one is talking Niese for CarGo or Tulo straight up. SJ is right. Mets won’t trade Niese for a prospect. He’s their only lhSP and they have immediate needs at SS & LF. That’s what they look to get for their pitching.
A Rockies deal would be a Niese or Gee, another SP prospect and B+ or A- prospect at another position. Col would ask for Syndergaard, Mets will try to hold to Montero. You have Dom Smith, Nimmo, Herrera and Plawecki or D’Arnaud all in play as the 3rd piece. If one of those last 5 are involved Rocks probably won’t be getting Syndergaard or DeGrom considering the contracts and injury history involved.

rizzo
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rizzo
2 years 1 month ago

Niese gets Tulo?????

LOLOLOLOLOLOL

LHPSU
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LHPSU
2 years 1 month ago

Way to not read the entire reply, guys.

AK7007
Member
AK7007
2 years 1 month ago

It’s just as funny reading the whole thing as stopping at “won’t be parting with Niese unless Tulo and/or CarGo are coming back”

“And?!” Tulo and CarGo?! Wasn’t even satisfied with “or” – needed “and”

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
2 years 1 month ago

AK7007, I don’t really follow your point. If ‘And’ is the funniest part of it, then how is it just as funny reading the whole thing? Based on your thoughts, it seems like it’s funnier to just read the first sentence, while ignoring the rest of his post where he talks about giving up elite prospects in the package.

SJ
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SJ
2 years 1 month ago

at least LHPSU gets it.

read the post in its entirety. No one is suggesting Jon Niese is acquiring any body of consequence by himself.

Niese is a cost controlled lefty and the only one in the Mets rotation. I’m guessing they’ll gladly part with him as part of a package that returns impact hitters. Niese for Rockies prospects not happening.

KG
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KG
2 years 1 month ago

Because the fact that the Mets have no other lefty starters makes him more valuable to other teams….

brad
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brad
2 years 1 month ago

Not that this needs further snarky response, but…
Niese’s total WAR since the start of 2012 is 4.8.

Did you get lost on the way to the Post?

Nick C
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Nick C
2 years 1 month ago

For Gonzalez, maybe. Tulowitzki is the best player in the league not named Mike Trout. That package is nowhere near his value, nor is it anywhere near the offers that other clubs would make.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
2 years 1 month ago

It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out, but I can’t imagine that the Mets would offer that much for Tulowitski, nor can I imagine other teams topping that offer. That’s a solid SP with a below-market contract (with team options, so if he goes downhill fast then they can cut bait) and 3 top-50 prospects on Baseball America’s mid-season list.

Tulowitski’s a great player – there’s no denying that – but he’s signed for over $100MM, and he’s never healthy. The contract covers his age 30-35 years, where I’d suspect he’d be less healthy than he was in his 20’s. It’s hard to trade the face of your franchise, but I would think the Rockies would jump at that offer.

tz
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tz
2 years 1 month ago

Tulo’s a lot like Jeter, Mauer, etc. – because of their popularity, you’d have to get back a cornucopia of talent to avoid a fan revolt. Think like the Dallas Cowboys’ return on Herschel Walker.

And yet, because of the big contract, I doubt you’d get much more than SJ’s package for Tulo (or CarGo for that matter). I don’t see him going anywhere, unless he starts to demand a trade and whine enough about it to turn the Colorado fans against him.

BMac
Member
BMac
2 years 1 month ago

Tulo is so much better than even a good shortstop that 140 games of him is worth more than a full season of just about any other infielder. His contract was a coup for the Rockies, and there is plenty of excess value. A shame that they are wasting that opportunity…

It looks like Tulo is back (famous last words?) in a week or so, in which case the DL stint is about par for the course; even Encarnacion is on the DL this year, and he’s a DH/1B! Middle infielders do get injured a lot, unless they just stand at SS like statues. (Let’ call that, the Ripken/Jeter strategy.)

It is amusing to think that a Mets fan sees Niese as this amazing asset. The point of the article is he is really a very mediocre pitcher for the Mets, but his groundball excellence would be magnified at Coors.

If a Triple-A 2nd baseman and an average CF gets you 1.5 years of David Price, it shouldn’t take much more to get you 4 years of Jon Niese. Rutledge & Blackmon?

Erik
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Erik
2 years 1 month ago

Wouldn’t be getting 140 games. Tulo has averaged 105 games per year since his rookie season.

Wow
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Wow
2 years 1 month ago

@BMac. Ripken was a fine defensive shortstop. Light years better than Jeter.

dte421
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dte421
2 years 1 month ago

I also can’t get past Tulo’s splits. We’re talking about a 2011 PA sample size of his numbers dropping significantly across the board. His career 118 wRC+ away from Coors is by no means terrible, but let’s put in perspective by pointing out that 438 PA’s from Jhonny Peralta this year have the same number. He’s got a career wRC+ of 102 against righties away from Coors, in 1517 PA’s. I know a lot of people like to pretend splits don’t matter, but if I were a front office official, there’s no way that I could ignore this.

If you’re a young team like the Mets, do you really want to commit $100M dollars to a guy who is consistently hurt and puts up those kind of offensive numbers away from Coors? Maybe as a free agent, but also having to give up three of your best young players? I’m not sure. Obviously none of the Mets prospects are sure things, but to me, Tulo makes more sense for a team that’s one player away – the Mets are not that team.

Cicero
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Cicero
2 years 1 month ago

Something I like to point out to people looking at Rockies road numbers
Holliday 24-28COL .319/.386/.552 131OPS+ Road .280/.348/.455
Holliday 29-33STL .306/.389/.520 148OPS+

Holliday’s overall line in both places looks a lot more alike than either his OPS+ and Road numbers as a Rockies player

Dovif
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Dovif
2 years 1 month ago

I love it when people use park adjusted stats to prove that there is no park effect

Cicero
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Cicero
2 years 1 month ago

Dovif how who is saying Park effects don’t exist? All I am saying is that people said Matt Holliday was not as good of a hitter as Jason Bay because Holliday hit .280/.348/.455 on the road as a Rockie.

“Bay is the best overall hitter on the market this winter, with more offensive potential than Matt Holliday” Keith Law wrote that during 2009 FA, and he was wrong.

Analyst
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Analyst
2 years 1 month ago

“…the best player in the league not named Mike Trout”

Uhh, Trout got traded and I missed it? Darn!

Now that’s gotta be one heck of a trade.
(Sorry to be snarky, but I couldn’t resist)

rockymountainhigh
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rockymountainhigh
2 years 1 month ago

I bet Blackmon or Rosario would get the Rockies in range of Niese. The Mets LOVE the young pitching, and rightfully so. They are desperate for bats. Certainly, they’d flip Gee for one of those guys.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
2 years 1 month ago

I just don’t see that happening. Blackmon had a nice April, but he has a career OPS of about .760 while playing half his games at Coors Field, and a walk rate of 4%. This article mentions platooning him, rather than letting him play every day. And I doubt the Mets are looking for a catcher who can’t catch, or a non-elite 1B (assuming Rosario would play 1B for them). I would think that they’d rather package more players for a legit bat, instead of trading someone like Niese or Gee in a smaller trade for another bad team’s spare parts.

rockymountainhigh
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rockymountainhigh
2 years 1 month ago

I think “spare parts” sells these guys a little bit short. Rosario hit 49 home runs in about 750 abs in 2012 and 13, 21 of them on the road. He can hit. Blackmon’s probably going 20/20 this year. Also, they are both cheap, which is going to have considerable appeal for the Mets. They would probably need more to get Niese, but they’d be in range. I think either would bring back Gee straight up.

Dovif
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Dovif
2 years 1 month ago

The mets have no use of Rosario, with superior c in ml in d’arnald and a top prospect in aaa, Rosario is almost useless. Blackmon has a career of 94 driven by a high Babip playing in coors. I am seeing bit parts

cs3
Member
cs3
2 years 1 month ago

wait you didnt even just say Tulo “OR” Cargo… you seriously threw an “AND” in there?

wow, best post ever!

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 1 month ago

But wait you didn’t read it all!!1!

equist
Member
equist
2 years 1 month ago

Why did the Rockies put Cuddyer in right this year anyway? They should have just moved him to first, not signed Morneau (saving money)and picked up a good bullpen arm instead. That way Cuddyer would still have a shoulder (and a career???!?), it would have put Dickerson in right field this year.

Perhaps in the off season they can add some bullpens arms from the Angels who seem to be signing everyone.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
2 years 1 month ago

Not sure COL has even the slightest chance of signing any of Justin Masterson, Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy and Francisco Liriano. They will all draw significant interest in the market as mid-rotation starters for 3-4 years, $30-50 million, while Kuroda will probably either sign for 1-year with the Yankees or leave the MLB. The Rockies will have to massively overpay.

El Duderino
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El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

Unless Masterson posts a HUGE second half he’s not getting anywhere near a $50 million guarantee. He’ll probably take a pillow contract under the current value of the QO, maybe a 2/20. He’s just too much risk. Haren only got a 1/13 deal from the Dodgers last year, and 2013 Haren was much better than 2014 Masterson.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
2 years 1 month ago

Certainly, but Haren was 32, and Masterson is 29. Phil Hughes got $24M/3yr and that would probably be the starting point.

Anthony
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Anthony
2 years 1 month ago

2013 Haren didn’t have 2013 Masterson season leading into his down year. He had 2012 Haren. There’s a bit of a perception difference there.

El Duderino
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El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

Haren was only two seasons removed from dominance, the likes of which Masterson hasn’t come close to. Masterson will be 30 on opening day, and has put together two good seasons sandwiched between several poor seasons. Since 2009, he’s averaged 2.45 fWAR, good for slightly above league average and only 1.32 rWAR. Between 2008-2013, Haren had an average of 4 fWAR per season. with three seasons above 5.5 fWAR and was only two years older than Masterson will be. There’s no way that a team gives an inconsistent pitcher who will be on the wrong side of 30 on opening day that much money. He’s a lotto ticket at this point.

And to compare Hughes with Masterson is horrible. Hughes was 27 on opening day, had better career K/9 and BB/9 than Masterson and played in front of a bad defense (like Masterson) but in a hitters paradise (unlike Masterson).

Can Masterson provide upside? Sure, but he’s at a higher risk for downside. And if he really thinks that his extension offer to Cleveland was fair, then he’s going to need to lower his expectations in free agency after this clunker of a year and hope that he can bounce back so that he can command more money in 2016.

El Duderino
Guest
El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

Not to mention that Hughes is an extreme FB pitcher, while Masterson is an extreme GB pitcher. Since 2009, Masterson ranked 15th with a 56.8% GB rate while Hughes is the 13th lowest in that time with a 33.8% GB rate.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 1 month ago

Yeah, Masterson isn’t going to come close to that money.

He’s had a sub-4 ERA exactly twice as a starter. He’s a #4 guy, and he’ll be paid as one.

rockymountainhigh
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rockymountainhigh
2 years 1 month ago

You must not be a Rockies fan, asking these types of level-headed questions. Wait until the offseason, when they RE-SIGN Cuddyer for way above market and dump Rosario for a bag of balls rather than finding him abs in the outfield and 1B.

LG
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LG
2 years 1 month ago

Congratulations, you’ve reached the same question every Rockies fan has about this year

Goat Fondler
Guest
Goat Fondler
2 years 1 month ago

They didn’t know Blackmon and Dickerson would be so good.

jdbolick
Member
Member
2 years 1 month ago

No one did, although that isn’t really the point. The Rockies had a glut of young outfielders and the need to figure out which ones had long-term value, all while knowing that Cuddyer was stretched in the outfield. The problem is that fringe teams like this often sign players with name value to foster the notion that they’re “going for it,” both to fans and to star players who have become disgruntled over losing.

El Duderino
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El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

I doubt that the Rockies let those guys go though. They’re incredibly attached to their own players and fear that losing a fan favorite would hurt ticket sales. But, short of blowing up the team and dealing Tulo and/or CarGo for top tier prospects, this is probably the best option that they have. Part of the problem, IMO, is the injury rates for CarGo and Tulo.

While they have HUGE value when playing, it’s like you said about Cuddyer, they just spend too much time off the field. CarGo has only played 65% of possible games since last season, and we all know of Tulowitzki’s injuries. If they’re going to keep their two biggest stars, it would seem to me that they should add higher end OF and IF depth.

Perhaps trying to acquire Kemp to play in a corner, moving Dickerson to CF full time and having Blackmon serve as the 4th OF. As for the IF, perhaps Lowrie would be a good pickup to play part time. His power should play up, he can play 2B and SS and probably some 3B serving as a super utility type for 100 games. These moves would make one of Stubbs or Barnes expendable via trade as well as LeMahieu, who let’s face it, is a defensive specialist at 2B.

The only question remaining is how much would the Mets require for Niese and how much would the Dodgers want to eat a good chunk of Kemp’s salary?

John Elway
Member
2 years 1 month ago

Hay, if I’m willing to say goodbye to Champ Bailey and catch hell from the fans, the Rox should be ok with sending their lesser vets out to pasture.

Just neighing.

El Duderino
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El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

Should and willing are two different things. Should they? I can’t be more emphatic with my yes. Will they? My doubts could fill the grand canyon. The Monforts really need to take a good look at the results and realize that the sample is large enough to say that their strategies have failed and that it’s time to right the ship, but I have a strong feeling that it’ll be business as usual.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 1 month ago

“My doubts could fill the grand canyon.”

Is it because your doubts are very very large, or very very numerous? Or a more moderate number of medium-sized doubts? Like, do you have 8 or 10 jumbo jet sized doubts, or 57,000,000 grilled cheese size doubts? Or 768,000 alpaca sized doubts?

stuck in a slump
Guest
stuck in a slump
2 years 1 month ago

It’s definitely the 768,000 alpacas. My concerns are fairly large and numerous, not to mention that they produce high quality wool.

Balthazar
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

The Monforts aren’t capable of operating this particular business enterprise rationally. They think they know what they are doing, but aren’t even on the Continent of Doing but rather the Island of the Chuckleheads (which they bought for cash and wholly own, just rending timeshare condos to others). The kind of plan just described is so beyond their _willingness_ to build a team rather than collect personalities that it’s not a possible option. They’ll move Tulo an injury too late to get any value for him, while cycling through many pitchers who don’t succeed leaving the one or two who do to twist in the wind, and continually failing to have PT funneled into guys who perform rather than guys who once looked like they performed.

When I saw the post headline, my first thought was “Fire the owners.” That remains my last though. That won’t happen. The Rockies won’t have a rational plan until they do, and likely no success until then either therefore.

Stank Asten
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Stank Asten
2 years 1 month ago

Kemp has .360 wOBA as of today and a wRC+ of 134. What makes you think the Dodgers would eat any salary to move him, or move him at all?

El Duderino
Guest
El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

Glut of OF’s and I’ve heard rumors of Kemp being a poor clubhouse presence. Plus, he’s injury prone, is terrible on defense, and whatever salary doesn’t get eaten by the Dodgers can be allocated towards a top free agent. Add to it that they have another money pit under performing in Crawford, who has absolutely no value at all on a trade market, and it makes sense for them to move Kemp, promote Pederson and put Crawford on the bench. Another possible player to be moved is Ethier, but he’s also been terrible and has a bad contract. If you’re going to move anyone from that OF it’ll be Kemp. I’ll also point you to an article by Jeff Sulivan written not that long ago and an article about a potential trade with the Red Sox in which the Dodgers would need to eat Kemp’s salary:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-cost-of-moving-matt-kemp/

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/07/red-sox-considering-lester-for-kemp-trade.html

Weston Taylor
Guest
Weston Taylor
2 years 1 month ago

yes, but Kemp has found a home in right field, and is the second-best OF on the team. If he comes close to his old self, he and Puig would be 1A and 1B. Just because the Dodgers have a glut of outfielders doesn’t mean we would be trading one of our best ones.

stuck in a slump
Guest
stuck in a slump
2 years 1 month ago

It makes complete sense for the Dodgers to trade Kemp and get some salary relief to address their SS or 2B vacancy this of season and make room for Pederson. And if they get something back of value for eating half of Kemp’s salary, then all the better. Hanging on to an over ripe veteran on contact that is obviously bad doesn’t make sense when they have a guy ready and waiting for a chance to prove his worth. Especially when losing a chunk of his contact will help them fill needs this off season.

Stank Asten
Guest
Stank Asten
2 years 1 month ago

You are an idiot. You can’t sign anyone in FA who can guarantee so much surplus value to make it worthwhile to trade away a 134 wRC+ player away while eating salary just to pay a part of that player’s salary.

stuck in a slump
Guest
stuck in a slump
2 years 1 month ago

Wow, so the dodgers should just not get to re-sign Hanley? There’s been a lot of talk about how the dodgers are pretty close to their spending limit. So to call me names because your fanboyism is blinding you to the reality of baseball is laughable. The fact that his defense is horrific, that the last two seasons before this he only managed to play 179 games, that he’s having trouble with the coaching staff, that he’s the only player in the dodger’s OF other than Puig who could return any potential value at this point, that the dodgers are refusing to move a potentially valuable trade piece in Pederson, that they were considering moving him for Lester at the deadline, and that the dodgers will need a SS this off season. Really now, who’s not thinking here? Maybe they trade him, maybe not, but all indications are that they’re willing to move him in the right deal and that they should move him as he is the only one who will bring anything back. But I’m an idiot for trying to take all the information and base my opinion on the facts rather than emotional attachments to a team.

Dovif
Guest
Dovif
2 years 1 month ago

Facts are even hitting 134wrc+ he had accumulated .6 war, and he was -.4 war this year even if you calculate war by $8 mil a war, he will be worth 8mil this year and -4mil last year. He will also be over 30 next year. If someone claim kemp on waivers the dodgers will be delighted to let him go

CJ311NYM
Member
CJ311NYM
2 years 1 month ago

Why would the Mets trade top prospects for Tulo when they could just spend the money on the free market?

Out of Place
Guest
Out of Place
2 years 1 month ago

Because there are no bats that even come close to Tulo on the market…

Dovif
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Dovif
2 years 1 month ago

How he is injury prone and heading toward age 33-35 where the injuries might catch up with him. How his stats are inflated by coors. He is batting .257 away from coors this year and has .274 away for his career at coors

Away from coors he has a wrc+ of 118 and woba of .354. Which are top 10 ss level?

Is that what you mean?

DrDooby
Guest
DrDooby
2 years 1 month ago

Tulowitzki doesn´t even turn 30 untiil next month. His “age 33 to 35 seasons” will come from 2018 to the end of his contract in 2020.
He´s one of the 5 most valuable position players in Baseball right now.

Meanwhile, the Mets wouldn´t trade Niese for prospects. Not when they pretty much have to sport a playoff caliber team in 2015. Maybe a trade that features Niese headlining a package to COL for CarGo is workeable. Mets would obviously have to add more, in spite of Niese´s team friendly contract status. And while that´d leave the Mets without a LHSP to open 2015, prospect Steve Matz should be within half a season of his debut by then and their rotation could be special with an army of young hard-throwing RHP Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom and Syndergaard, plus whoever is there from the group of veterans Bartolo Colon or Dillon Gee to round it off. And not to forget Rafael Montero as further depth.

Ruf's mum
Guest
Ruf's mum
2 years 1 month ago

My view is that he is a top 5 offense player WHILE playing at Coors. The question is who is he if his stats are not inflated by Coors. When you add that to the injuries and the aging. I do not think he is going to be worth the prospect costs

The same goes for cargo

Cicero
Guest
Cicero
2 years 1 month ago

The Rockies almost never let players leave in their prime there are a couple recent examples so let’s take a look

Chris Iannetta’s OPS+ ranked seasons, by team:
1) COL
2) LAA
3) LAA
4) LAA
5) COL
Seth Smith’s OPS+ ranked seasons, by team:
1) SDP
2) COL
3) OAK
4) COL
5) OAK
Matt Holliday’s OPS+ ranked seasons, by team:
STL
COL
STL
STL
OAK/STL
Dexter Fowler has the best OPS+ of his career this year as well, so why would you think Rockies’ players park adjusted numbers are helped by playing in Colorado?

It is worth noting all the players above were in Colorado through their age 28 season when they should be declining so really Cargo/Tulo may be even better when/if they leave.

Ruf's mum
Guest
Ruf's mum
2 years 1 month ago

Cisero

You do know ops+ is park adjusted? To used park adjusted number to explain why parks does not matter is ?

Holliday best season by far is 2007 when he had a ops greater than 1.000. His best year in St. Louis had a ops almost 100 points lower. Ops+ actually supports everything I am saying to adjust tulo’s number

Cicero
Guest
Cicero
2 years 1 month ago

Yes but Tulo has a 138OPS+ since changing his stance in 2009 when his K% dropped and BB% rose, yes OPS+ is park adjusted but notice that every player that left had their OPS+ Jump. You are saying look at Tulo’s road numbers well Holliday in 5 years as a Rockie hit road .280/.348/.455 and overall as a Cardinal hit .306/.389/.520 over the next five years.

Dovif
Guest
Dovif
2 years 1 month ago

You do understand the park adjustment means?

Ie for holiday he was actually better when he had a 7 war season then a 8 war season at coors because Coors inflate stats. That is the purpose of the argument which you have proven with stats

Ie we should discount tulo’s stats and war by 10 to 20% because he bats at coors

Cicero
Guest
Cicero
2 years 1 month ago

WAR is park adjusted and the fact that all these guys were better hitters after their physical prime might point to Rockies hitters being under valued by park adjustment. wRC+ and OPS+ both say Tulo is a better hitter than say David Wright over that same time frame.

Joe
Guest
Joe
2 years 1 month ago

yeah, that team looks pretty good.

Ruki Motomiya
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Ruki Motomiya
2 years 1 month ago

If I recall correctly, Kuroda said he doesn’t want to play for any other MLB team but the Yankees, so he’s probably not an option.

Is there any indication that A. Niese is on the market and B. His price is reasonable? Mostly A, though B could matter if other teams get involved. Mostly saying since it’s the part of this that could be most unknown on if it is possible.

Of course, replacing Niese with Chatwood gets you just about the same time, so no trouble there. A bit worse, but not tremendously.

uniqueusername
Member
uniqueusername
2 years 1 month ago

Yep, Kuroda is out of the question. Honestly, I don’t really blame the Rockies being attached to the mediocre pitchers like De La Rosa. Since its hard in the first place to find a free agent willing to pitch there. Then also having semi-success. Masterson is probably the best fit. Given his Fastball/Slider combo + ground-ball tendencies.

Just because he is a ground ball pitcher for another team. Doesn’t mean he is great fit for Coors. I wouldn’t want a guy who needs a big curve ball to pitch in Coors. Fastball/tight Slider is the best repertoire for a Coors pitcher..

james
Guest
james
2 years 1 month ago

The problem is that the author keeps pushing ideas that the rockies have tried and lost out on already. They know it increase home runs, but the problem is not that coors makes more home runs (at least not all of it), the entire feild to supress some of those home runs. that means the outfeild is massive. Grounders that sneak by are more likely to become doubles, and more pop ups are likely to fall, and every issue attached.

That means that any fly balls are bad. it also does not mean that fly ball pitchers struggle… everyone struggles in coors. They have tried ground ball pitchers, and they struggled, the only group that does not get exponentially worse are very high strike out guys (and they have a tendency to cost a ton).

Lets go after realistic peices in trades. Ian Kennedy- high strike out rate this year, and has done well in his 8 starts at coors. Wade Miley-good K rate, and good in his 3 starts in coors. Jesse Chavez, hammel, mchugh and cj wilson are also reasonable peices that fit the mold i am talking about.

For FA SP, they should be looking at Hammel, Burnette, Morrow, Volquez, and common sense says keep de la rosa since he is actually pretty good at coors (if you can keep your ear under 4.5 there, you are putting your team in a good position to win).

I think they should also adopt home/away releivers in their bullpen. harder to do with starters, and does not need to be a 100% thing, but the ball does not break the same in coors, so if you have releivers that only pitch high leverage in coors, and high leverage away, it could help their releivers.

This is also a young team with a deep and good system (top 5 ish system). That does not mean trade them all, it means there is a future hear after tulo and cargo.

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

Why is it harder to do home/away with SP rather than RP’s? I’d think it’s easier. The home/away schedule is known a year in advance. Home stands are usually 6-7 games – which means two ‘home’ SP’s could easily start/finish most home stands (even if its on four days for them like baseball used to be – they get a long rest on the road trips). That leaves the away games and 2-3 games in the middle of a home stand to be handled by the remaining SP’s. Realistically that schedule can be done by as few as four more SP’s – five is probably better though. If that means having two or three SP/RP’s in the bullpen instead of 1-IP guys – well that is an ideal place to put young pitchers, pitchers who are still getting used to altitude in 2-3 inning relief, and post-injury or prove-it-contract pitchers who are still working their innings back up.

RP’s are actually the least affected by Coors because a)they only have one or two pitches in their repertoire and b)they never see the same batter twice so their fastball doesn’t get keyed in on and c)they already tend to be L/R platooned and adding yet another platoon need – to an unknown/unknowable pitching schedule – makes it near impossible to create a bullpen roster. The problem with the Rockies bullpen this year is that they have been abused for years thru overwork – so they have now been broken or they just suck (because Rockies don’t develop bullpen arms). In years past, the Rockies bullpen was extremely solid.

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

Maybe even more important. Once you have ‘home’ pitchers taking up a lot of Coors starts, it becomes MUCH easier/cheaper to get good #1/2 starters. They can pitch mostly on the road at sea-level. The team doesn’t need to worry about some pitch of theirs that gets screwy at altitude. The team doesn’t need to ‘develop’ ALL of their starters for Coors (just the two ‘home’ ones). And having good pitchers with ‘stuff’ on the road will also make it MUCH easier for the Rockies to have low-scoring road games (which they are more likely to win because of the Coors hangover effect on bats).

robb
Guest
robb
2 years 1 month ago

I’d be interested to hear on what they would have to give up to get neise back. And to John Elway, it is much easier to get rid of champ bailey when you yourself are the face of the franchise, hall of famer who brought back titles and just had a season where the team you constructed went to the superbowl. Winning allows you to have standing with the fans, losing means you have to make sure they still come to the ballpark. also peyton manning.

Weston Taylor
Guest
Weston Taylor
2 years 1 month ago

So, every person that has an innovative idea should probably not make the sensical moves unless they’ve won or done something in their lifetime.

That should lead to progression as a society.

Schide
Member
Schide
2 years 1 month ago

Please don’t Martin, let the Pirates keep somebody good for once. :(

steex
Guest
steex
2 years 1 month ago

Claiming potentially interesting guys like Jacob Turner could also be sound strategy for 2015. If only there were the opportunity!

BMac
Member
BMac
2 years 1 month ago

In theory, Niese would be good at Coors, but in fact, he has been awful. A small sample size, but if he was going to like AMAZING, I would not expect him to be like AWFUL.

He has trouble striking people out at Coors, a very bad sign. His pitches likely don’t move the way he expect there, and looking at the 2 Coors game results, he wasn’t getting that many GBs.

And based on the way Niese has pitched the past month, he might be a real cheap asset for someone soon.

Tulo AND CarGo. Yeah, right.

Dovif
Guest
Dovif
2 years 1 month ago

Let’s look at the last sentence and replace niese with tulo. Judging by his injury history and the fact is he is getting old. The contract could become an albatross soon, I am thinking of other 10 year contracts as comparison. I am thin ink 2 previous top players for st l and Yankee and how they go in their 30s and they are not injury prone in their 20a

Niese has lots of success already

james
Guest
james
2 years 1 month ago

Common sense has not missed the rockies, but has excaped the author here and many commenters. common sense says that a lot of HR there means play gound ball pitchers. The rockies tried it, and it does not work. Ground ball pitchers are also normally movement based pitchers. The air is different that high up. a curve does not curve as much, and a sinker will look flat.

What does work… strike out pitchers. Find guys that have good K rates, but not amazing pitchers. Elite pitchers fall apart there too, so spend on hitting that will take advantage, draft fast ball dependant strike out pitchers, and make a go.

The first 2 guys i thought would be good fits based on being generally average SP with good not great K rates were Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley…. and both have mid 3s era in Coors (3 and 8 starts).

So there are good targets, but they are not ground ballers, they are fastball throwing strike out guys.
I would target the following FA sp- Masterson, Villinava, Dempster MCGowan, Morrow and Floyd. and of course the only guy who has been even decent there- Dela Rosa. In trades, i would go after similar guys

El Duderino
Guest
El Duderino
2 years 1 month ago

The problem with GB pitchers in Coors is two fold: First, IIRC, a tour of Coors Field revealed that they keep the IF grass extremely short, thus speeding up the ball, while the OF grass is a bit longer to keep balls from getting to the fence every time an OF can’t get to it. Second, I remember reading an article here a while back talking about how in upper tier hitter’s parks, GB pitchers had HR/FB problems. The assumption was that making solid contact and putting the ball in the air is actually more detrimental to GB pitchers than FB pitchers (since FB pitchers tend to induce weaker contact on FB’s).

With these two factors in mind, perhaps the grounds keepers should be keeping the IF grass longer to slow down grounders, but that could be harder on the IF defense since the balls won’t come to them as quickly to help them make plays. And perhaps what the Rockies need to be looking for is pitchers with consistently high IFFB rates while fielding the best OF defense possible. FB pitchers in Coors seems counter intuitive, but with three CF quality OF’s and a pitcher who can consistently induce weak contact on FB’s, you might be able to reduce opposing hitters’ BABIPs as well as cut down the team’s HR/FB rate.

Chris K
Guest
Chris K
2 years 1 month ago

“He has trouble striking people out at Coors”.

Bro, do you even read fangraphs?

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

Agree with most of the changes – except the pitching strategy.

Yes it’s important to have GB pitchers at Coors. But it is equally (maybe more) important to not have an entire rotation full of the same sort of pitcher pitching the same way. Historically, the Rockies problems have NOT been dealing with Coors. They have been dealing with the road.

Many of their players don’t live in Colorado during the off-season. This is imo the main underlying reason for Rockies injuries. There is a reason that elite athletes in every other sport live/train at altitude if they can (including most players for the Nuggets/Broncos/etc) – because once their lungs are more efficient, they have a HUGE advantage over other athletes. Baseball itself isn’t aerobic but it does have a long long season – and all general conditioning is aerobic and restful sleep requires that your lungs be completely acclimated. The Rockies piss away all the advantages of altitude (force your opponents to gasp for air, get insomnia, and suck on oxygen tanks) and instead are just as exhausted at altitude as opponents.

Rockies batters (like the pitchers) also have a stereotype. Impatient and free-swinging. Plays well at Coors. Doesn’t work well at all on the road – esp when combined with the ‘Coors hangover effect’. And this is definitely not an accident since all the prospects are pretty much the same. These two problems combined probably require a significant swap of players. Trade some impatient free-swingers for patient OBP guys. And I see no interest by the front office in fixing the road problems. As long as the Rockies win at Coors, fans will keep pouring in and the Monforts will make money. Ain’t no way Tulo really gets either of these problems.

As for the pitchers, the only long-term solution imo is to structure the rotation more around the home/road schedule rather than around some holy five-man rotation. Finding two ‘home’ pitchers (like JDLR) could fill up well over half of the required Coors starts. Start at home on four-man rotation – and rest/relief on road trips. Those should be the only pitchers on long-term contracts. Once you’ve made the mindset change – to structure the starts schedule around home/road rather than a rigid 5-day; then it becomes much easier to fit in ‘pitchers with skills’ rather than just ‘pitchers who work at Coors’. It might mean carrying seven/eight starters/swing on the roster – but rosters nowadays are chockfull of way too many one-pitch relievers anyway and it’s not like the Rockies have a bullpen in need of preserving roster slots.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

Ya the pitching strategy seems weird. I like the idea of GB pitchers and great IF defense, but filling the rotation with old guys with durability issues seems inadequate. If they could get Masterson, fantastic. But I’d keep Anderson also. I’m thinking the real upside would be bringing in lots of ground balling relievers and letting them pitch multiple innings whereas they’re only allowed to pitch in small doses for their current teams…guys like Burke Badenhop, Randy Choate, Phil Coke, Scott Atchison, Brandon League…none of these guys is as valuable pitching 50 mid-leverage innings per year to their current teams as they would be pitching 80-110 innings per year for the Rockies. What the Rockies really need in a pitcher is durability, strikeouts and grounders, and they don’t mind a few extra walks. What they have to limit at all costs are fly balls. And yes, their players should live at high altitude year round.

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

With a home/road rotation with extra starters, that could also eat up multiple inning stints in the bullpen. ‘Home’ starters would be available for once-through-the-order stints on the road. Instead of trying to get 900 IP/year from 5 starter-onlys (with a bullpen full of one-inning max types trying to get the remaining 550 IP’s), you could get 1300 IP’s from 8 SP/RP’s (and let the RP specialists handle the remaining high-leverage 150 IP).

Only disagree about walks. At Coors, giving up free baserunners is death (the extra XBH ARE going to happen – just gotta make sure they are solo shots). Pitchers with command problems should only pitch in road games. But with a home/road rotation split, the team can finagle that.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 1 month ago

That’s a really interesting point about de la Rosa. Somewhat shockingly, since 2011, in more than 600 total innings, his home ERA has been more that 1.5 point better than his road ERA. That’s not a huge sample but it’s not a small one either, and that’s a stark difference, suggesting there really is something that de la Rosa is doing to pitch better at Coors.

I found it very odd how the Rockies seemed to value him so highly. He’s ok, but they were acting like trading him would be like trading an ace. If the ownership has some disproportionate value on home performance, that could be why, since de la Rosa really has been an ace in Coors (3.14 ERA since 2011).

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

JDLR does pitch extremely well at Coors because a)he throws different fastballs so batters can’t just key in on a four-seam and b)his changeup is a true out pitch to righties and altitude plays up the velocity difference and deception and c)his slider is good enough. None of his pitches have enough ‘stuff’ to be more than mediocre on the road. He also proves that altitude itself is not really the issue. Adjusting to the effects of altitude – the mental side – is the issue.

He’s succeeded. The front office knows that too. But they still waste half his starts on the road where he’s mediocre and won’t ever be much better than that.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 1 month ago

I’d just like to point out the wRC+ marks of Rockies OF vs. LHP this year:

Stubbs 175
Dickerson 103
Blackmon 77
Gonzalez 57
Barnes 49

It seems pretty crazy to me that Dickerson sits against lefties.

Yeah
Guest
Yeah
2 years 1 month ago

But this very website says Rosario’s defense is actually quite good, are you saying its wrong?

shamus mcfitzy
Guest
shamus mcfitzy
2 years 1 month ago

I think you’re including Positional runs because his actual Fielding runs are below average. And I don’t think blocking runs get added (subtracted) until the end of the season, so right now he’s just getting the 1 run for throwing out runners and losing the 0.6 runs for his work at 1B. And it’s best to look at a larger sample than this year and look at his terrible blocking in 2012 and below average 2013.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
2 years 1 month ago

If Rosario had a horrible 2012,a better 2013,and is better yet again in 2014 defensively,is it not possible that he is improving every year defensively ? The Mets trading half of their farm for Cargo would be a classic move in the Mets sad tradition. Cargo strikes me as exactly the type of player who would turn into a colossal bust on the Mets .

Yeah
Guest
Yeah
2 years 1 month ago

Even so it hardly indicates that he’s unable to play the position because he’s so bad.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 1 month ago

That’s because this website doesn’t have the stats to accurately measure catcher defense at this moment.

Weston Taylor
Member
Weston Taylor
2 years 1 month ago

I don’t understand why Masterson would be a good signing. Sure, he gets groundballs at an incredibly high rate, but his control is absolutely god-awful. Since 2010, he has the 18th worst BB/9 among qualified starters, sitting at 3.68. Liriano is 11th, at 3.95. Walking people at Coors isn’t exactly conducive to success. Also, Liriano relies on his slider 32.3% of the time for his career. Isn’t the slider one of the pitches that traditionally gets worse when pitchers go to Coors?

This is all not to mention that Liriano and McCarthy are huge injury risks, and Kuroda is about to be on the wrong side of 40.

I just feel like, if we’re complaining about injuries to the vets and Brett Anderson, we shouldn’t really be looking at injury-prone players to replace the ones that are already on the team.

Rebuilding
Guest
Rebuilding
2 years 1 month ago

You forgot the most important part – firing Walt Weiss. He is almost certainly the worst tactical manager in the game which is only magnified at Coors. Not playing Dickerson is a sin, bunting in the 2nd inning at Coors is a travesty, and being left with nothing but position players left in the bullpen every couple of weeks is incompetence

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 1 month ago

Do you know why he doesn’t play Dickerson?

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

Because Dickerson sucks in CF and his arm isn’t strong enough for RF. Basically, playing Dickerson means benching either Cuddyer or Cargo. Lots of teams prefer to play veterans on big contracts and the pressure to do that probably comes from the owner

eric
Guest
eric
2 years 1 month ago

don’t kid yourself, it’ll be an offseason of status quo.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 1 month ago

Regardless of how they go about it specifically, I’d definitely like to see a team try the general strategy you’re suggesting: go after extreme ground ball guys and build an excellent infield defense.

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

They already have that. One of if not the best infield defense. And a pitching staff that is 3rd in GB’s.

They are currently battling for the #1 draft pick. So that’s not working.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 1 month ago

They also have second worst FIP- and the worst xFIP- in baseball, and I wouldn’t think any strategy could turn that into good run prevention. I would withhold judgment on the plan until they try it with some pitchers who are at least decent. Their team BABIP is only 9th worst, so that may or may not be an accomplishment in their park.

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

The problem with a rotation full of GB pitchers is – the road. Rockies road schedule is extreme pitchers parks – and GB pitchers are much more susceptible to ‘small ball’ games. The ceiling on runs scored against those pitchers may be lower – but the floor is higher.

Which puts more road pressure on playing the same defense-oriented infielders every day – more pressure on the batters to produce runs every day. There’s never a dominant ‘pitchers duel’. Or a flyball pitcher in the rotation to allow for infield platooning.

Cicero
Guest
Cicero
2 years 1 month ago

The real problem is that this is the 4th year in a row they fail to have 4 guys get 150+ip, hard to tell what you have as a team when 2-3/5ths of your rotation is MiLB FA

Weston Taylor
Member
Weston Taylor
2 years 1 month ago

nowadays, excellent infield defense probably means they can’t hit. So that probably wouldn’t work.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 1 month ago

I could see a plan where you go for undervalued good-glove bad-bat infielders and get some bat-only guys for the outfield, and maximize the ratio of chances given to the infield by collecting ground ball pitchers. I think it would work, the effect may just be too small to matter.

jfree
Member
jfree
2 years 1 month ago

The most extreme GB pitchers still allow 25-30% FB’s. And Coors has the biggest outfield in MLB by far – and ARI/SF/SD/LAD are the 6th/7th/12th/16th biggest.

The worst possible OF for the Rockies is bunch of big fat guys who can’t cover any territory.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 1 month ago

I guess the question is whether the reduced FB% of the pitching staff would offset the plays missed due to limited range of the outfielders. I don’t really have a notion of whether it would or wouldn’t.

I may have misrepresented what I’m saying. Obviously I wouldn’t advocate purposely trying to get horrible outfield defense, more just to prioritize offense in the outfield.

Waylon
Guest
Waylon
2 years 1 month ago

Trade Tulo for Darvish and Profar

Erick
Guest
Erick
2 years 1 month ago

The suggestions in this article would really improve the rockies. However, knowing O’Dowd, Geivett, and Dick Montfort (the three stooges) they will likely sign older injury prone players and then blame a summer slump on the poor health.

Rarer
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

Lose the two headed gm bullshit.

D
Guest
D
2 years 1 month ago

How about fire Walt Weiss? Guy does’nt know what he is doing. Keeps playing 28 yo charlie blackmon over 23 yo Corey Dickerson even though Blackmon has been worth exactly 0 war since April.

isavage30
Guest
isavage30
2 years 1 month ago

Masterson has not had a “superficially” poor season. He’s had an obnoxiously awful season that should make you question whether he will ever work as a starter again. If his velocity doesn’t recover, he is likely only useful as a reliever used sparingly against lefties.

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